Mimicking Hurricanes

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Hurricanes are a frequent and potentially deadly occurrence for many parts of the world. Although forecasting models have improved, there is still a lot about the physics of these storms that we don’t fully understand, in part because getting direct measurements from the real thing is so difficult and hazardous. Researchers at the University of Miami have instead built their own hurricane generator, capable of sustained 200 mph winds – strong enough to create Category 5 hurricane conditions. In this facility, they can study details of the storm up close, allowing them to distinguish effects from the scale of large waves down to the physics of the sea spray. Learn more and see the facility in action in the Science Friday video below. (Video credit: L. Groskin/Science Friday; image credits: L. Groskin/Science Friday, University of Miami, SUSTAIN Lab; submitted by Guillaume D.)

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